Day #11 – April 26th: At Ziggy and the Bear I ran into my shoe brother again… I had seen him at Warner Springs and he had the same Inov8 shoes on as I did. When we had met at Warner Springs we had said that if we met up again in the future we’d see how the shoes were working for both of us and it turns out that his feet are in pretty much the same condition as mine. I guess we’ve learned that minimalist shoes aren’t the best for the PCT…unless you’re Sasquatch (who *spoiler* I meet on Day 14). After leaving Ziggy and the Bear I hiked into a big wash…just sand and boulders, hills and valleys so I couldn’t really see where i was. I decided to follow some footprints that ended up leading me astray. I was saving battery power on my phone (not using my map app) and went 3.47 miles in the wrong direction and down into a long and windy canyon. Rookie Mistake. So, I did exactly what you’re not supposed to do and sprinted back in the direction I had come jumping from boulder to boulder. I found myself feeling like my childhood self when my brother and I would run on the trails we went down with our dad to go fishing. When I reached the actual PCT again I had put in 10 PCT miles but another 6.9 Whooopsie miles. I decided to call it a day and stealth camped since the area is restricted for camping.
Day #12 – April 27th: My legs are feeling the run from yesterday and I haven’t seen anyone since leaving Ziggy and the Bear. It was a pretty easy hike today, really open with big beautiful views and not too hot with a nice breeze. I ended up down another wash and went a quarter mile past the trail again, but caught it sooner than yesterday and am now realizing that I’m depending on my GPS too much and need to start being more vigilant about where I am. I hiked up into the hills after the wash and came upon a compound with animals in cages lining the PCT. Rumor has it that these animals are used in Hollywood movies. I made eye contact with a tiger and he wasn’t impressed…the grizzly started sniffing and then then made a woofing sound so I took the hint that it’s probably getting to be shower time…I haven’t showered since Day 9…and it’ll probably be a while before I find one. I quit hiking early to work out some issues with my tent…put in 21 miles today!
Day #13 – April 28th: Woke up later than usual today and got hiking at 7:30. It was another nice, flat, relaxing hike and to make it even better I came across a couch and a locker of soda for PCT hikers. People do awesome things out here. I lounged for awhile and enjoyed a wonderful can of Sprite. I still haven’t seen anyone today, but around Big Bear Lake I came across a mini mansion out in the middle of no where. Totally off the grid with its own windmill, fishpond, swimming pool, huge car barn and no one was home. I was tempted to go lay by the pool, but kept hiking.
Day #14 – April 29th: At this point almost everyone has received a trail name…so from here on out the people I meet will not have normal names. Today I ran into Sasquatch and Beans. Sasquatch was wearing the Vibram Five Finger shoes and I’m not sure how he does it! Talk about minimalist shoes! I hiked with Sasquatch and Beans off and on and made a comment that I was getting “hangry” (for those who aren’t aware what “hangry” is its when you get grumpy because you’re hungry…my food stores were getting pretty low and I was rationing). They had never heard this term before and thought it was hilarious…and thus I have picked up my very own trail name…Hangry. I kind of want to add an animal to the end of it…like Hangry Cat or Hangry Bear…but its already caught on and now everyone knows me as Hangry. We came upon a random bathroom in the middle of nowhere and everyone else decided to camp close to it for the night, but I hiked up and found a sweet spot in between some rocks with a beautiful view especially at sunset and sunrise. The rocks kept the wind away and they radiated heat which kept me nice and warm at night. It’s been my favorite camping spot so far.
Day #15 – April 30th: Reached mile 300 today! I ran into Dirt Monger and Bear Claw sitting in the shade next to a cool bridge and we laughed about my new trail name for a while. I had met them at Ziggy and the Bear but we hadn’t really introduced ourselves. As I was hiking today, some kids came up behind me with backpacks full of bear and they invited me to their local hang out down a steep trail off the PCT where there are rocks and a swimming hole. I looked at the trail…looked at my feet…and told them that they’d have to carry me down that crazy steep path because there was no way I was going to make it down there and definitely no way I’d make it back up. I kept walking for another 9 miles and came across some hotsprings. I’ve come to realize that I think everyone in Califonia should be in shape and good looking…but that is not what I found at this place. It was pretty gross and of course they were all naked. I asked a few of them if they could get out of the way as I took a picture so that all of you wouldn’t have to see the things I’ve seen haha. You’re not allowed to camp there but it looked like some people were living there and there was garbage strewn all over the place. Banana Boat, Bilbo, Wallito and I found a slightly less gross hotspring and soaked our aching bodies for a while which felt nice, but I kind of felt dirtier after getting out. Afterwards I hiked out and about an hour later I ran into Wallito again and he was cowboy camping right next to the trail basically on a cliff…crazy guy. I got to this big drainage area where you’re not allowed to camp and lost the trail again because it was another big open flat valley with a stream running through it and I couldn’t see the trail. I crossed the stream and made camp because I didn’t want to risk falling in the stream in the morning and having to hike all wet…but then I woke up in the morning next to two PCT signs that I missed the night before and basically had camped on the trail.
Mile 300 and the Hot Springs…after I asked the naked people to move.
Day #16 – May 1st: Matt showed up to get water from the stream and then Dawn Patrol, Star Rider and Wallito tried to cross the stream and I think they all fell in. I saw Dawn Patrol fall in and she started cracking up and that’s when I officially met her and Star Rider. I hiked on and was limping pretty bad that day so Star Rider and Dawn Patrol caught back up to me and I walked with them for about 45 minutes so I got to know them and hear how they got married, it was pretty inspiring and funny…good people. I ended up having lunch at the bottom of a dam and hiked with Wallito with only half a mile to go until we reached the picnic area where there were bathrooms and water. We were both struggling with aches, pains and shin splints and we decided that it was the longest half mile we had ever walked. The picnic area was a beautiful spot next the lake formed by the dam and everyone I’d seen earlier in the day caught up with us. They hung at the lake and I started hiking again because there is a McDonalds up the trail and I WILL be having it for breakfast tomorrow…and maybe lunch.
Day #17 – May 2nd: On my way to McDonalds I saw a giant rattle snake and I was going to take a picture but I was too concerned about getting to McDonalds. But that sucker was huge. Also the lizards I’m seeing are getting progressively bigger…they’re not cute anymore. They’re starting to get scary. Anyways, I walked into McDonalds with my arms raised doing victory pumps with my fists while Matt, Bear Claw and Dirt Monger laughed at me. Breakfast at McDonalds. Lunch at McDonalds. I met THE “Half-Mile” (the guy who made the Half Mile Map App that I’ve used my entire hike so far) Matt was considering trying to get his picture taken with him but decided that would be too dorky. After Mickey D’s I got an early check-in at a Best Western and immediately filled up the bath tub and soaked for an hour. Took a shower, laid in bed, clipped my toe nails, did some laundry and then went to get tacos for dinner. There’s a gym here but I don’t think I’ll be using that. ha. I think I might stay 2 nights here but I’m already getting too comfortable and don’t want to leave! Especially because the next section ahead of me is 5 days of hot, exposed hiking with really steep grades. But a day of rest will be good for the my feet so I just may take my first zero day.